ERG chosen for $20 million DC smart-card work

ERG Transit Systems Inc., Balcatta, Australia, will install and operate a transit smart-card system for Washington, the company announced this week. Northrop Grumman Corp., Los Angeles, will act as a subcontractor for the $20 million deal.

ERG will operate the facility to support the city's smart-card-based fare collection system, SmarTrip. It will manage the smart cards and the operation of the data processing system-which will use an existing multicity system based in San Francisco. Northrop Grumman's Information Technology unit will distribute the smart cards and operate the customer service center.

The work starts in the first quarter of 2003. The contract has a base of five years, with two one-year options. The $20 million is estimated against the five year contract.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is managing the contract for the participating transit agencies. The deal is pending approval by the state of Maryland Transit Administration.

Transit smart cards will be used by more than 1 million Washington commuters within five years, according to company estimates. The cards will be accepted by 17 local transit systems and will work with installed gates and readers.

ERG, part of ERG Group, specializes in integrated fare management and software systems for the transit industry. It oversees about 50 million cards in more than 200 cities, including the Hong Kong "Octopus" system, the world's largest transit smart-card system, which supports more than 7.2 million transactions per day.

The group has 16 offices in 12 countries and employs 880 people. ERG is a public company and is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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